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Would a Privatized Social Security System Really Pay a Higher Rate of Return?

  • Geanakoplos, J.
  • Mitchell, O.S.
  • Zeldes, S.P.

As the U.S. Social Security system has matured, the rate of return received by participants has fallen. In the coming years, around the time the Baby Boom generation retires, the system will experience a budget shortfall. Many advocates of reform suggest that an answer to this problem is to rivatize Social Security. Our goal in this paper is to challenge the following popular argument: a)projected returns to Social Security are low relative to expected returns on stocks and bonds, and therefore b) everyone would receive higher returns and be better off if we moved to a privatized system where individuals could directly invest their contributions in sotcks and bonds.

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Paper provided by Columbia - Graduate School of Business in its series Papers with number 98-03.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:colubu:98-03
Contact details of provider: Postal: U.S.A.; COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, PAINE WEBBER , New York, NY 10027 U.S.A
Phone: (212) 854-5553
Web page: http://www.gsb.columbia.edu/

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  1. John Geanakoplos & Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Social Security Money's Worth," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-20, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Social Security," NBER Working Papers 8451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  3. Martin Feldstein, 1997. "Transition to a Fully Funded Pension System: Five Economic Issues," NBER Working Papers 6149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1996. "Social Security Privatization: A Structure for Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Olivia S. Mitchell & Flavio Ataliba Barreto, . "After Chile, What? Second-Round Social Security Reforms in Latin America," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-4, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1998. "Social security reform in Latin America," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 15-18.
  7. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1994. "Generational Accounting: A Meaningful Way to Evaluate Fiscal Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 73-94, Winter.
  8. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Annika E. Sunden, 1997. "Family finances in the U.S.: recent evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-24.
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